A novel deletion of at least 26 kilobase of DNA, including both alpha- globin genes, the psi alpha- and psi zeta-globin genes, but sparing the functional zeta-gene was found in a 10-year-old black boy with HbH disease and sickle cell trait. This particular deletion has not previously been described in blacks. Its existence makes it likely that the absence of Hb Barts hydrops fetalis in blacks is due to the rarity of the chromosome lacking two alpha-globin genes rather than a result of early embryonic death due to the failure to synthesize embryonic hemoglobins because of deletion of functional zeta-globin genes.

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